Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente began their 2013 Clausura campaign with a 2-1 win against Puebla FC in a Week 1 match up of the LIGA MX at Cuauhtemoc stadium.
Xolos were able to hold on to the lead through a series of spectacular and important saves by goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo late in the match. Club Tijuana left Puebla with its first three points of the tournament.
The Xoloitzcuintles used a smooth flowing type of soccer strategy with a strong defensive effort, and very effective performances by the goal keeper Cirilo Saucedo to take a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Colombian striker Duvier Riascos gave Club Tijuana a 1-0 lead at the 30th minute of the first half, when he beat three defenders to the ball and sent a right-footed shot into the lower left corner of Puebla’s net.
Cristian Pellerano also added another goal for Xolos at minute 41 of the first half. He sent a shot from inside the goalie area on a play created by Fernando Arce and Javier Gandolfi off a corner kick, where Gandolfi let Arce’s pass filter through to a wide open Pellerano.
Puebla FC cut Club Tijuana’s lead seconds before halftime with a goal from Roberto Gutierrez at the 45th minute.
The goal came off a corner kick after Xoloitzcuintles goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo saved the first attempt by Puebla with a header, which then Gutierrez took advantage of the rebound and put the ball away bending the net for a socre now of 2-1.
Puebla, known as “La Franja,” came out looking to score in the second half by finding ways to attack through the air with a series of headers by Felix Borja, but it was Saucedo who would make many saves to avoid a goal and help the Xoloitzcuintles hold on to the lead.
Saucedo made outstanding back-to-back saves in the 79th minute when he stopped a blazing shot with two hands near the upper left corner. He then dove on a low shot off a header shot by Borja to end the threat.
Puebla continued to put a lot of pressure, but the defense of Club Tijuana was able to keep the 2-1 score.
Coach Antonio Mohamed used the same starting lineup he used at the end of the 2012 Apertura tournament with Saucedo at goal, Gandolfi, Pablo Aguilar, Edgar Castillo and Juan Carlos Nunez in the defensive line.
Arce, Pellerano and Joe Corona started at midfield, while Riascos, Fidel Martinez and Alfredo Moreno were the Xoloitzcuintles strikers.
Joshua Abrego, Richard Ruiz and Noe Maya subbed into the game in the second half.
Mohamed’s squad will now return to Tijuana to host Club Leon FC at Estadio Caliente Saturday Jan. 12 in a 5 p.m. match up.
The Xoloitzcuintle entered its first game of the 2013 Clausura as the reigning 2012 Apertura Champions against Puebla FC at Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Club Tijuana also qualified to the 2013 Copa Libertadores in the previous Mexican soccer tournament.
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